Sharron Morgan, Alumna

My name is Sharron Morgan and I am a recent graduate from CSUN. I came here a couple years ago, so that would be 2006, and enrolled in the credential program for teaching. It was a two year program, and I completed that in May of 2008.

This is a career change for me, so being a teacher is relatively new, even though I am an older person. I have been in the work world for a number of years, and my first degree, bachelor of business, was from the University of Illinois many many years ago. I decided to get into teaching because I saw an ad in my magazine– Peace Corps Volunteer magazine — that was recruiting people to come teach in Los Angeles. People who had international experience. So I was intrigued by that and I made a phone call and there I was, pursued that path. So I learned that the state of California has a program for people who do not have a bachelor’s degree in the subject area that they want to teach, but have some knowledge, or a lot of knowledge, and that is through state tests that are offered. So the more I explored it the more I realized that this would be a path for me to pursue and that I had a lot to offer to the field. I moved to California and began that whole process of re-training myself and getting qualified to take the state exams, and so on. At the same time I knew I was going to need to be enrolled in a university’s intern program, so I contacted CSUN and there we were.

Once I found a job, once I got finished with the exams that I needed to pass and so on I needed to find a job, which I did. Then at the same time I needed to get enrolled in the university’s intern program. That all happened very quickly actually and I was very impressed with the staff that made that happen. I actually got a job offer about the late part of August of 2006. In fact, the credentialing program had already started, or the fall session for 2006 had already started by the time I contacted the faculty, but like I said I was only a couple weeks late and they were very gracious in getting it going and moving things right along. So one day I wasn’t in and the next day I was in, and so it was good.

Dorothy Stilling, Alumna, First Graduating Class

[San Fernando Valley State College] had  just opened when I came.  I came from Valley Junior College [Los Angeles Valley College], over on Fulton Avenue.  And I did two years there, and then realized that this was a good spot to come into, at the end of my two years, to complete my degree.  That would have been in 1957.

Dr. Schwartz was the chairman of that department [Education], and he was also the main teacher in getting us into training.  Everything I took was geared toward teaching.  For example, the Music Department with Dr. Ryan was learning to teach music in the schools.  And the same was true with the Physical Training [Phys Ed], which was Mrs. Fisher, as I recall — there again, we were given ideas about incorporating it into our teaching.

I was older, because I put my husband through college first, and then he decided that he would put me through college. . . I think I had an advantage as far as my age was concerned, because I thoroughly loved it, and I got a lot out of all my classes because I enjoyed coming and studying, so in that respect it [San Fernando Valley State College] had a lot to offer and I appreciated it as far as the professors and just being a new college was great for me too.

I think it’s been a fantastic thing for the valley to have this university and it seems to be better each year as far as things that are offered and then the community involvement as far as Northridge is concerned, I think it’s great.  It’s a wonderful thing for our community.

It was just an overall wonderful accomplishment for me to be able to finish and get through in four years — which doesn’t happen too often.  — and then also getting the teaching credential to me was like an insurance policy, so wherever we might go I could use it, and it wasn’t until two years ago that I stopped with my substitute work.  I enjoyed that thoroughly throughout the valley.

J.M. Cook, former San Fernando Valley resident

(J.M. Cook sent us this story by e-mail)

Congratulations to CSUN for fifty years! I have enjoyed looking at the CSUN website and going through the timeline. It brings back many memories. I live in northern California now and get down that way very rarely.

I have a small CSUN story, although I never attended there. My family lived on Nordhoff Street between Encino and White Oak, and I attended Prairie Street Elementary School (in case you don’t remember it, it was at the southwest corner of Zelzah and Prairie, long since gone to create parking for CSUN) 1958-1964, Northridge Jr. High, Holmes Jr. High and Cleveland High. We were guinea pigs, if you will, for the SFVSC education students. SFVSC was a constant part of the background reality of elementary school, being that the college surrounded the elementary school on three sides.

Prairie Street School students learned early on that a row of folding chairs set up in the back of a classroom meant that a class of education students would arrive shortly to watch our lesson. Our teachers never told us in advance that the students were coming. When we came into the classroom, either first thing in the morning or from recess, there would be those chairs. The students would file in, take their seats, and watch what happened in our class. They only observed, never spoke, during the proceedings. The only time I saw my fourth grade teacher Mr. Klenes sweat was when we had SFVSC students in the room.

I had several student teachers from SFVSC over the years, from elementary through high school. One who made a great impression on me was Richard Speights, who taught my government class at Cleveland High. Even as a student teacher, he was able to make his points creatively and effectively. On one occasion we were discussing literacy tests for voters, and he demonstrated vividly how such a test can be used to separate people into groups. He went around the room asking each student one question about the Constitution. Students who answered correctly stayed in their seats, and those who answered incorrectly went to the back of the room. When he finished, most of the boys were in their seats and most of the girls were in the back. He had asked the boys the easy questions and the girls got the hard questions. That small lesson has stuck with me ever since. No lectures on discrimination would have made the point as clearly as that spontaneous demonstration. I think Mr. Speights must have become a very fine teacher as his career progressed.

My daughter is in college now, and is considering going to CSUN for her master’s degree. Funny how life goes, isn’t it?